My grandparents were natives of the Balangao Tribe of Mt. Province, up north in the Philippines. On April 12, my grandmother passed away. Today she was buried beside my grandfather.
Lola Brigida was my last living grandparent. Miles away from home, I grieved alone while watching photos and videos being sent through the internet. Day and night people came to celebrate the life she lived. Like all my other grandparents, she has touched so many lives.Without her, I wouldn’t have known what a grandmother’s love is like. Here are lessons I learned from her. These will be buried deep in my heart until I see her again.
1. WORK HARD
My lolo and lola were poor farmers who started with nothing. But they were able to raise my mom and her siblings and gave them a better life.Even at a young age, she would teach us how to farm, to pound rice and to feed the pigs and chickens.
2. OPEN YOUR HOME
My lola’s house was an old wooden house with creaky floors. But it was everybody’s home. It had welcomed guests from all over the world. And she has fed everyone who dropped by, any time of the day.
I think her house is the happiest house up in the mountains.
3. LIVE SIMPLE
Even when all her children have become successful, she chose to live as humbly as she could. When I gifted her with a touch phone, she returned it to me and said she was happy with her 2G phone.
She slept on the floor and always gave others the best spot.
Her biggest luxury is an old TV that had the worst reception in the planet.
4. GIVE AND SHARE
Whenever she visited us and we gave her something, she would put some aside or ask for more so she can bring them home. Back in the mountains, she would distribute them to our relatives.When we send her supplies, we had to send more than what she needed, because for sure she would divide it among others.
5. GRIEVE GRACEFULLY
When my grandfather and my father died, I saw how devastated she was. But her words were always about God’s goodness and how we should continue to live for Christ while waiting for our turn to die.
6. SING, SING, SING!
Almost all my cousins have amazing voices. Our reunions and gatherings were full of music and laughter. On the spot, my cousins or uncles can make funny witty songs about lola. This would leave everyone rolling on the floor, laughing so hard.
My lola was the original musician. She has sung and composed many original songs. And her comeback songs were just as funny.
7. BE PRESENT
On special days or at times when we needed her, she was there.
Even if that meant she had to hike up the mountain trail or walk for several hours, just to get to the main road. She endured so many hard and uncomfortable travel just to get to us.
8. LAUGH OUT LOUD
In most of our photos, lola would not be smiling. But don’t be deceived. Behind the camera she is goofy like this.Whenever she was around, everything was laughable.All my uncles are jokers. It’s no surprise why.
9. FAMILY IS EVERYTHING
Lola would always say that her greatest blessings were her children and all her grandchildren.
10. LOVE GOD
The last time I saw my grandmother, I finally told her about my mental condition and that I had been suffering from it since high school. She cried and kept saying she was sorry that she didn’t know. We hugged and cried for hours. I had a feeling it was the last time I would see her.
Her last words for me:
“I wish that you become happier, my grandchild. Give all the bad things that happened in your life to God. Instead, strengthen your faith in Him. Pray that he adds more joy in you. And if paragliding is what makes you happier, then that’s what you do.”
Ever since I was a kid, I have watched her pray and read her Bible until her eyes grew weary.
This is the greatest legacy my grandparents have left me – faith in God.
So no matter how happy-sad I am, and no matter how much I desire to end my life, I know one thing will never die with me… my love for God.
Thank you, lola. ❤